Annual emerging greek leaders summit focuses on flexible leadership and unity

Seven+Greek+life+chapters+attended+EGLS+in+the+first+weekend+of+February.

Sean Repuyan

Seven Greek life chapters attended EGLS in the first weekend of February.

Sean Repuyan

Two weeks ago, Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL)  hosted the annual Emerging Greek Leaders Summit (EGLS) in a hybrid format due to the coronavirus. The two-day event took place at various locations around campus to accommodate for proper social distancing. 

This year, EGLS was co-coordinated by FSL Leadership Intern Matthew Giffin, and Abigail Wilhelm. Both Giffin and Wilhelm were the previous presidents of their respective chapters of Kappa Sigma and Alpha Phi. The two have also attended previous EGLS programs, and both said that EGLS inspired them to get even more involved within FSL.

“EGLS sparked a desire to be involved in a bigger way,” Wilhelm said in an interview alongside Giffin. “It truly propelled me into leadership roles and gave me the inspiration to hand down that desire to others.” 

“It [EGLS] inspired me to not only get involved with my chapter, but also the entire community of Ashland University,” Giffin added. “It made me want to get out there and try to make an impact.”

The message for this year’s Summit was the importance of flexible leadership. Giffin and Wilhelm wanted to emphasize being an adaptive leader and how that can benefit emerging leaders as they start to develop their own leadership style. 

However, Wilhelm said she believes it is important to note how great of an opportunity EGLS truly is for new members. Wilhelm sees EGLS as being one of the many examples for new members to be able to hone in on many skills, step into new roles and continue to network. 

“I think attendees realize that they are investing into their future,” Wilhelm said. 

Dustin Hargis, Director of FSL and Student Leadership, said the point of EGLS was to inspire participants to have internal reflections and be able to identify who they are as leaders. According to Hargis, this past weekend marks the 11th year of the Summit. 

“EGLS has become a staple now, with about 90% of greek students having attended over the years,” Hargis said. “It’s important to have these conversations on how new members can develop and run the community.” 

Since EGLS is primarily a student-run process, many facilitators from different chapters on campus got involved to help develop all emerging leaders within the FSL community. 

Pierson Noonan, Phi Delta Theta facilitator, believes EGLS was made to help better the community as a whole. 

“Every chapter on campus is very strong, but it’s nice to come together and see that not everyone is always perfect,” Noonan said. “EGLS gets me excited to network and learn about others’ struggles and the ability to relate with others.”

Juliet Touma from Delta Zeta was a facilitator who, within her group, emphasized that idea of bringing every chapter together and establishing a strong unity on campus. Touma’s ideology stems from the negative portrayal Hollywood has concerning Greek Life. 

“I feel it is my job to help emerging leaders with breaking stereotypes and learning how to lead effectively and with flexibility,” Touma said. “EGLS has the potential to make you your best self within your chapter and within your community and for me, it taught me a lot about what I am and who I am.” 

Some EGLS sessions were held on Zoom to allow for social distancing. (Sean Repuyan)

Touma identifies EGLS as a program that helps members realize that they are never truly alone no matter where they are, as well as a resource that expands outside of FSL. 

“Panhellenic literally means ‘unity of Greeks,’” Touma concluded. “But we are so much more than just our Greek letters.” 

According to both Giffin and Wilhelm, planning and preparing for the Summit is both a lot of fun and a lot of work, “But watching it all come together and being able to have a successful weekend makes it all worth it,” Giffin said.